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penses to support them. At least this superflui- | ty, such a superfluity as we have described, a superfluity given to vice, can we refuse to give it to the Lord? If we dedicate it to the poor, we offer to God altogether our criminal pleasures and the money they cost, our passions, and our charities; and by so doing we discharge two religious duties, and present a double sacrifice.
IV. The last calculation we make (a sad calculation indeed, but, however necessary) is that of the number of our poor; and to abridge the matter, we join to this an account of the funds which we have to support them. It is necessary to enter into this detail, for some people pay no attention to these things; indeed, they know in general that there are poor, but satisfied with their own abundance, they give themselves little concern to know how many such persons there are.
pended, and more than expended. Our of ficers are in arrears, and have no other hopes than what are founded on your donations today, or Wednesday next, to the collection, of which I give you this public notice.
You will ask me, without doubt, How then do all these poor subsist? For it is very certain they do subsist, and nobody perishes with hunger. How do they subsist? Can you want to be informed? Why, they suffer they weep-they groan-from want of food they fall sick-sickness increases their wantstheir wants increase their sickness-they fall victims to death-a death so much the more cruel by how much the more slow it is;and this death-this death cries to heaven for vengeance against you who shut up your bowels of compassion from them.
My brethren with what eyes do you see these things? What effects do these sad objects produce upon you? Can you behold the miseries of your brethren without compassion? Can you without any emotion of pity hear Jesus Christ begging his bread of you? And all these blows that we have given at the door of your hearts, shall they serve only to discover the hardness of them, and to aggravate your guilt?
Turn your eyes a moment from your own prosperity, and fix them on these objects. All the world know that an infinite number of poor people are supported in this country by charity; all the world know that the afflictions with which it has pleased God to visit our churches, have filled these provinces with an innumerable multitude of distressed objects, who have no other resource than the charity of our magistrates. This charity will always be a reason for our gratitude. It enlivens not only those who partake of it, but all the rest of the exiles who behold with the tenderest sen-hearts, nor any alteration in your lives. sibility the benefits conferred on their breth-You in your turn complain: you say we declaim; you alirm we exaggerate; and, as the reasonableness or futility of our complaints depends on a discussion into which it is impossible for us to enter, the question remains undetermined.
We frequently complain, that our sermons are useless; that our exhortations are unprofitable; that our ministry produces neither wisdom in your minds, nor virtue in your
But wo be to you, if the charity of the state be made a pretext for your hard-heartedness, and if public beneficence be made an obstacle to private alms-deeds! Understand, then, that beside the poor we have mentioned, there is a great number who have no share in the bounty of the states. This church has several members of this sort. Beside an infinity of oc casions which present themselves every day, beside a thousand extraordinary cases unprovided for, beside a number of indigent persons occasionally relieved, the church suppports many hundreds of families, in which are many infants, many sick, many aged, and many dying; they who have been supported through life, must be buried after their death at the charge of the church. All these wants must be regularly supplied every week, whether there be money in hand or not. When your charities fail, our officers assist the poor with their purse, as at all times they assist them with their pains. Is the payment of the weekly sums deferred? Alas! Ifit be deferred one single day, the poor have no bread that day: the dying expire without succour: the dead lie unburied, and putrefy, and infect those who assisted them while alive.
My brethren, you have it in your power to-day, and next Wednesday, to make your apology. You may give a certain proof that you are not insensible to the care which God takes for your salvation You may do us the favour to confound our reproofs, and to silence reproof for the future. Behold, our wants are before you. Behold, our hands are held out to receive your charity.
Do not lessen your gift on account of what you have hitherto done: do not complain of our importunity; do not say the miseries of the poor are perpetual, and their wants have no end; but rather let your former charities be considered as motives to future charities. Become models to yourselves. Follow your own example. Recollect, that what makes the glory of this state and this church, what Jesus will commend at the last day, what will comfort you on your death-bed, will not be the rich beaufets that shine in your houses, the superb equipages that attend you, the exquisite dishes that nourish you, not even the
Whatever pains are taken, whatever exactness is observed, how great soever your char-signal exploits and numberless victories which ities be, the poor's fund in this church cannot astonish the universe, and fill the world with supply all their wants.-What am I saying, your names, but the pious foundations you the funds of the church? We have none. We have made, the families you have supported, have no other supplies than what are derived the exiles you have received--these, these from our charity given at the door of the will be your felicity and glory. church, from legacies left by a few pious perSons, and from collections. All these are ex-ual, and their wants endless; and this dis
You say the miseries of the poor are perpet
heartens you. Alas! Is not this, on the contrary, what ought to inflame your charity? What! should your charity diminish as wants increase? What! because your brethren are not weary of carrying the cross of Christ, are you wearied of encouraging them to do so?
You say the miseries of the poor are perpetual, and their wants have no end. I understand you; this reproach touches us in a tender part. But have we less reason to complain, because we are always miserable? Yet, perhaps, we may not always be in a condition so melancholy. Perhaps God will have mercy upon his afflicted.' Perhaps the flaming sword, which has pursued us for more than twenty years, will return into its scabbard, rest and be still.' Perhaps we may some day cease to be a wretched people, wandering about the world, exciting the displeasure of some, and tiring the charity of others. Perhaps God, in order to recompense the charity which you have testified by receiving us, will grant you the glory of re-establishing us; and, as you have lodged the captive ark, will empower you to conduct it back to Shiloh with songs of victory and praise. Perhaps, if we all concur to-day in the same design; if we all unite in one bond of charity; if, animated with such a noble zcal, we address our prayers to him, after we have offered to him our alms; perhaps we may build again the walls of our Jerusalem, and redeem our captive brethren from prisons, and galleys, and slavery. Perhaps, if God has determined that Egypt,which enslaves them, should be for ever the theatre of his vengeance and curse, he may bring out the remainder of his Israel with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with jewels of silver and jewels of gold, with flocks and herds, not a hoof being left behind,' according to the expression of Moses, Exod. x. 11.
and might, and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding,' 1 Chron. xxix. 11, &c.
May these forcible reasons, and these noble motives convey light into the darkest minds, and soften the most obdurate hearts; and may each apply them to himself in particular! It happens, not unfrequently, that on these occasions each trusts to the public, and, imagining that the charity of an individual will be nothing to the total sum, for this reason omits to give. No, my brethren, there is no person here who does not make one; there is no person here who ought not to consider himself the public, and, if I may venture to say so, representing in some sort the whole congregation. Every person here ought to consider his own contribution as deciding the abundance or the insignificance of our collection. Let each therefore tax himself. Let no one continue in arrears. Let a noble emulation be seen amongst us. Let the man in power give a part of the salary of his office. Let military men give a part of their pay Let the merchant give a part of the profits of his trade. Let the mechanic give a part of the labour of his hands. Let the minister consecrate a part of what his ministry produces. Let the young man give a part of his pleasures. Let the lady bestow a part of her ornaments. Let the dissipated give the poor that box of ointment,' which was intended, for profane uses. Let the native of these provinces give a part of his patrimony: and let the refugee give a part of what he has saved from the fury of the ocean when his vessel was dashed to
After all, let us remember what was said at the beginning of this discourse, that if God requires alms of you, it is owing to his good-pieces; and with a part of these remnants ness towards you. Yes, I would engrave this let him kindle a fire to offer sacrifices to that truth upon your minds, and fix this sentiment God who saved him from perishing by shipin your hearts. I would make you fully un- wreck. derstand, that God has no need of you to support his poor, and that he has a thousand ways at hand to support them without you. I would fain convince yon, that if he leaves poor people among you, it is for the reason we have already mentioned; it is from a sublime principle, for which I have no name. In dispensing his other favours, he makes you sink with joy under the weight of his magnificence and mercy; to-day he offers to owe you something. He would become your debtor. He makes himself poor, that you may be enriched by enriching him. He would hava you address that prayer which a prophet formerly addressed to him, Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heaven or the earth is thine. Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all, and in thine hand is power
My brethren, I know not what emotions of joy penetrate and transport me. I know not what emotions of my heart promise me, that this discourse will be attended with more success than all we have ever addressed to you. Ye stewards of our charity, ask boldly. Come into our houses 'ye blessed of the Lord,' and receive alms of a people who will contribute with joy, yea, even with gratitude and thanks.
But, my brethren, we are not yet content with you. Should you exceed all our expectations; should you give all your fortune; should you leave no poor hereafter among you; all this would not satisfy me. I speak not only for the interest of the poor, but for your own interest; we wish you to give your charities with the same view. In giving your alms, give your minds, give your hearts. Commit to Jesus Christ not only a little portion of your property, but your bodies, your souls, your salvation, that so you may be able to say in the agonies of death, I know whom
I have trusted, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day,' 2 Tim. i. 12. God
grant us this grace. To him be honour and glory for ever.
PROVERBS xiv. 32.
He that ruleth his spirit, is better than he that taketh a city.
and custom, eradicate prejudice, undertake the conquest of yourself, carry fire and sword into the most sensible part of your soul, enter the lists with your darling sin, mortify your members which are upon earth,' rise above flesh and blood, nature and self-love, and, to say all in one word, endeavour to rule your spirit;' and you will find that Solomon has rigorously observed the laws of precision, that he has spoken the language of logic, and not of oratory, and that there is not a shadow of hyperbole or exaggeration in this proposition, He that ruleth his spirit, is better than he that taketh a city.'
WERE we to judge of these words by the first impressions they make on the mind, we should place them among such hyberbolical propositions as the imagination forms to colour and exceed truth. The mind on some occasions is so struck as to magnify the object in contemplation. The more susceptible people are of lively impressions, the more subject they are to declamation and hyperbole. We find these maxims sometimes necessary in explaining the sacred authors. Were we to adhere scrupulously to their words, we should often mistake their meaning, and extend their thoughts beyond due bounds. The people of the east seldom express themselves with precision. cloud intercepting a few rays of light is the 'sun darkened.' A meteor in the air, is, the powers of the heavens shaken.' Jonah in the belly of the fish, is a man down at the bottom of the mountains. Thunder is the voice of Jehovah, powerful and full of majesty, dividing flames of fire, breaking cedars of Lebanon, making Sirion skip, and stripping forests bare.' A warm of insects is, a nation set in battle-array, marching every one on his ways, not breaking their ranks, besieging a city, having the teeth of a lion, and the cheek teeth of a great lion,' Joel i. 6; and ii. 7. 9.
But to what period shall we refer the explication of the text? We will make meditation supply the place of experience, and we will establish a truth which the greatest part of you have not experienced, and which perhaps you never will experience. This is the design of this discourse. Our subject is true heroism, the real hero.
I enter into the matter. The word heroism is borrowed of the heathens. They called those men heroes, whom a remainder of modesty and religion prevented their putting into the number of their gods, but who, for the glory of their exploits, were too great to be enrolled among mere men. Let us purify this idea: the man of whom Solomon
If we be ever authorized to solve a difficult text by examining the licence of hyper-speaks, he who ruleth his spirit,' ought not bolical style; if ever it be necessary to reduce to be confounded with the rest of mankind; hyperbole to precision, is it not so now in ex- he is a man transformed by grace; one who, plaining the text before us. He that ruleth to use the language of Scripture, is a partaker his spirit, is better than he that taketh a of the divine nature.' We are going to speak city? What justness can there be in compa- of this man, and we will first describe him, ring a man, who by reflection corrects his and next set forth his magnanimity, or, to keep passions, with a hero who, in virtue of con- to the text, we will first explain what it is to certed plans, great fatigues, spending days 'rule the spirit,' and secondly, we will prove, and nights on horseback, surmounting diffi- that he that ruleth his spirit is better than culties, enduring heats and colds, braving a he that taketh a city.' If we proceed farther, variety of dangers, at last arrives, by march- it will only be to add a few reflections, tending ing through a shower of shot, darkening the to convince you, that you are called to heroair, to cut through a squadron, to scale a wall, ism; that there is no middle way in religion; and to hoist his flag in a conquered city. that you must of necessity either bear the shame and infamy of being mean and dastardly
But however just this commentary may appear, you will make no use of it here, un-souls, or be crowned with the glory of heroes. less you place Christianity in the exercise of easy virtues, and after the example of most men accommodate religion to your passions, instead of reforming your passions by religion, Endeavour to form principles, resist fashion
I. Let us first explain the words of the text, to rule the spirit.' Few words are more equivocal in the sacred language than this which our interpreters have rendered spirit. It is put in different places for the thoughts of
the mind, the passions of the heart, the emotions of sense, phantoms of imagination, and illusions of concupiscence. We will not trouble you with grammatical dissertations. In our idiom, to rule the spirit' (and this is precisely the idea of Solomon), to rule the spirit,' is never to suffer one's self to be prejudiced by false ideas always to see things in their true point of view; to regulate our hatred and our love, our desires and our inactivity, exactly according to the knowledge we have obtained after mature deliberation, that objects are worthy of our esteem, or deserve our aversion, that they are worth obtaining, or proper to be neglected.
But as this manner of speaking to rule the spirit,' supposes exercise, pains, labours, and resistance, we ought not to confine ourselves to the general idea which we have given. We consider man in three points of light in regard to his natural dispositions; in regard to the objects that surround him; and in regard to the habits which he has contracted.
1. Consider the natural dispositions of man: Man, as soon as he is in the world, finds himself the slave of his heart, instead of being master of it. I mean, that instead of a natural facility to admit only what is true, and to love only what is amiable, he feels I know not what interior power, which indisposes him to truth and virtue, and conciliates him to vice and falsehood.
I am not going to agitate the famous question of free-will, nor to enter the lists with those, who are noted in the church for the heresy of denying the doctrine of human depravity; nor will I repeat all the arguments good and bad, which are alleged against it. If there be a subject in which we ought to have no implicit faith, either in those who deny or in those who affirm; if there be a subject, in the discussion of which they who embrace the side of error advance truth, and they who embrace the side of truth advance falsehoods, this is certainly the subject. But we will not litigate this doctrine. We will allege here only one proof of our natural depravity, that shall be taken from experience, and, for evidence of this fatal truth, we refer each of you to his own feelings.
with insolence, or dispute through jealousy or self-love, I should act disorderly.
What I affirm of virtue, that it is a general disposition, that I affirm also in regard to an indisposition to sin. To avoid vice is to desist alike from every thing contrary to order, from slander and anger, from indolence and voluptuousness, and so on.
He who forms such ideas of the obligations of men, will have too many reasons to acknowledge, by his own inward feelings and experience, that we bring into the world with us propensities hostile and fatal to such obligations. Some of these are in the body;
others in the mind.
Some are in the body. Who is there that finds in his senses that suppleness and readiness of compliance with a volition, which is itself directed by laws of order? Who does not feel his constitution rebel against virtue? I am not speaking now of such men as brutally give themselves up to their senses, who consult no other laws than the revolutions of their own minds, and who, having abandoned for many years the government of their souls to the humours of their bodies, have lost all dominion over their senses. I speak of such as have the most sincere desire to hear and obey the laws of order. How of ten does a tender and charitable soul find in a body subject to violence and anger obstacles against the exercise of its charity and tenderness? How often does a soul, penetrated with respect for the laws of purity, find in a body rebellious against this virtue terrible obstacles, to which it is in a manner constrained to yield?
Disorder is not only in the body; the soul is in the same condition. Consult yourselves in regard to such virtues and vices as are, so to speak, altogether spiritual, and have no relation, or a very distant one, to matter, and you will find you brought into the world an indisposition to some of these virtues, and an inclination to the opposite vices. For example, avarice is one of these spiritual vices, having only a very distant relation to matter. I do not mean that avarice does not incline us towards sensible objects, I only say, that it is a passion less seated in the material than in the spiritual part of man; it rises rather out of reflections of the mind, than out of motions of the body. Yet how many people are born sordid; people always inclined to amass mo
fa virtue to be practised? Who does not feel, as soon as he is capable of observing, an inward power of resistance? By virtue here, I understand a universal disposition of an in-ney, and to whom the bare thought of giving, telligent soul to devote itself to order, and to or parting with any thing, gives pain; poople regulate its conduct as order requires. Order who prove, by the very manner in which demands, that when I suffer, I should submit they exercise the laws of generosity, that they myself to the mighty hand of God, which af- are naturally inclined to violate them; peoflicts me. When I am in prosperity, order re-ple who never give except by constraint, who quires me to acknowledge the bounty of my tear away, as it were, what they bestow on benefactor. If I possess talents superior to the necessities of the poor; and who never cut those of my neigbor, order requires me to use off those dear parts of themselves, without them for the glory of him, from whom I re- taking the most affectionate leave of them? ceived them. If I am obliged to acknowledge Envy and jealousy are dispositions of the kind that my neighbor has a richer endowment than which we call spiritual. They have their 1, order requires me to acquiesce with submis-seat in the soul. There are many persons sion, and to acknowledge with humility this who acknowledge the injustice and baseness difference of endowment; should I revolt of these vices, and who hate them, and who
nevertheless are not sufficient masters of themselves to prevent the dominion of them, at least to prevent a repetition of them, and not to find sometimes their own misery in the prosperity of other persons.
As we feel in our constitution obstacles to virtue, and propensities to vice, so we perceive also inclinations to error, and obstaclesto truth. These things are closely connected; for if we find within us natural obstacles to virtue, we find for that very reason natural obstacles to truth; and if we be born with propensities to vice, we are born on that very account prone to error. Strictly speaking, all ideas of vice may be referred to one, that is to error. Every vice, every irregular passion, openly or tacitly implies a falsehood. Every vice, every irregular passion includes this error, that a man who gratifies his passion, is happier than he who restrains and moderates it. Now every man judging in this manner, whether he do so openly or covertly, takes the side of error. If we be then naturally inclined to some vices we are naturally inclined to some errors, I mean, to admit that false principle on which the irregular passion establishes the vice it would commit, the desire of gratification. An impassionate man is not free to discern truth from falsehood, at least, he cannot without extreme constraint discern the one from the other. He is inclined to fix his mind on what favours his passion, changes its nature, and disguises vice in the habit of virtue; and, to say all in one word, he is impelled to fix his mind on whatever makes truth appear false, and falsehood true.
I conclude, the disposition of mind of which Solomon speaks, and which he describes by ruling the spirit, supposes labour, constraint, and exercise. A man who would acquire this noble disposition of mind, a man who would rule his spirit, must in some sort recreate himself; he finds himself at once, if I may be allowed to say so, at war with nature; his body must be formed anew; his humours and his spirits must be turned into another channel; violence must be done to all the powers of his soul.
from some false ideas which they had imbibed in their youth, and from other illusions which they had created themselves; prejudices of country, taken from the genius of the people among whom we have lived, and, so to speak, from the very air we have breathed; prejudices of religion, taken from our catechists, from the divines we have consulted, from the pastors by whom we have been directed, from the sect we have embraced; prejudices of friendship, taken from the connexion we have had, and the company we have kept; prejudices of trade and profession, taken from the mechanical arts we have followed, or the abstract sciences we have studied; prejudices of fortune, taken from the condition of life in which we have been, either among the noble or the poor. This is only a small part of the canals by which error is conveyed to us. What efforts must a man inake, what pains must he take with himself to preserve himself from contagion, to hold his soul perpetually in equilibrium, to keep all the gates of error shut, and incessantly to maintain, amidst so many prejudices, that freedom of judgment which weighs argument against objection, objection against argument, which deliberately examines all that can be advanced in favour of a proposition, and all that can be said against it; which considers an object in every point of view, and which makes us determine only as we are constrained by the irresistible authority, and by the soft violence of truth, demonstration, and evidence?
As the men who surround us fascinate us by their errors, so they decoy us into vice by their example. In all places, and in all ages, virtue had fewer partisans than vice; in all ages and in all places, the friends of virtue were so few in comparison of the partisans of vice, that the saints complain, that the earth was not inhabited by men of the first kind, and that the whole world was occupied by the latter, the godly man ceaseth; the faithful fail from among the children of men, the Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no not one,' Ps. xii. 1, and xiv. 2,3. An exaggeration of the prophet, I grant, but an exaggeration for which the universality of human depravity has given too much occasion. Cast your eyes attentively on society, you will be, as our prophet was, astonished at the great number of the partisans of vice: you will be troubled, as he was, to distinguish in the crowd any friends of virtue; and you will find yourself inclined to say, as he said, there is none that doeth good, no not one.'
2. Having considered man in regard to his natural dispositions, observe him secondly in regard to surrounding objects. Here you will obtain a second exposition of Solomon's words, He that ruleth his spirit;' you will have a second class of evidences of that exercise, labour, and constraint, which true heroism supposes. Society is composed of many enemies, who seem to be taking pains to increase those difficulties which our natural dispositions oppose against truth and virtue.
Examine the members of this society among whom we are appointed to live, consult their ideas, hear their conversation, weigh their reasonings, and you will find almost every where false judgments, errors, mistakes, and prejudices; prejudices of birth, taken from our parents, the nurses who suckled us, the people who made the habits in which we were wrapped in our cradles; prejudices of education, taken from the masters to whom
But how difficult is it to resist example, and to rule the spirit among such a number of tyrants, who aim only to enslave it! In order to resist example, we must incessantly oppose those natural inclinations which urge us to imitation. To resist example, we must not suffer ourselves to be dazzled either with the number or the splendour of such as have the care of our earlier days was committed, I placed vice on a throne. To resist example,